Ne Hao (Ma)?
Jun 8, 2008 21:38
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Hey whats up,

Its been a while, hope everyone is well. So I had this question that has been lingering in my mind for at least 9 months now.

I am Chinese, I look Chinese but my Cantonese doesn't go father than asking for soy sauce and simple greetings to people I don't know like uncle, aunt and sir. There is this greeting that some have used with me which is "Ne Hao". Some people have told me that it means "Hi" but wouldn't "Ne Hao" translate into "how are...."? Because if I were to ask how someone was doing I would say "Ne Hao Ma?"?? what would be the correct response to this? are they really asking me how I am doing if they say "Ne Hao"? sort of like how I would say "What up"? here in the states.

Jun 8, 2008 23:51
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Good to see you again, Danny.....

Pimsleur teaches that "Ni hao" is "hello" and that "Ni hao ma" is reserve for people with whom you have a relationship and would really want to know how they are doing. ...rather than just a courteous greeting.

I am certain that our native speakers will elaborate.
Jun 9, 2008 21:40
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I think so too
Jun 9, 2008 22:59
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'ni hao' is used as 'hi' or 'hello', although the literal translation is 'you good'. The 'ma' that you sometimes put on the end, is used to turn a sentence into a 'yes / no' question. Therefore 'ni hao ma' becomes a question like 'how're you doing?'.

'ni hao' is a very common greating for both people whom you know and people whom you have just met. There are other ways to say 'hello', such as 'nin hao' (where 'nin' is a more respectful form of 'ni'), and 'lao shi hao' (where you are saying 'hello' to your teacher ('lao shi' = 'teacher').

The above, incidentally, give you the approximate pronunciations in Mandarin, rather than Cantonese. In Cantonese, 'ni hao' becomes 'nei hou'.
Jun 10, 2008 03:29
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if you are saying that you should be talking Cantonese.... you should say "Hello" (!) instead of Ni Hao...
Jun 12, 2008 22:24
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Great to see you too, Steve!

Thanks all for posting, perhaps I should stop responding with Mo Hou from now on.
Jun 15, 2008 18:53
I don't know Cantonese but I am learning Mandarin.

So ni hao can mean many things: hi, hello, how are you.

Don't worry too much about the literal meaning because it doesn't make sense when you translate it anyways.
Just know that it's a greeting.

ni hao ma is a return response but also used when you know someone more personal. You don't ever use it
with a stranger...

Apr 6, 2009 21:53
GUEST23359 It means "You have eaten?"

How is it that nobody said that yet?

It is like saying, "How are you today?" because if you have eaten, it is a sign that you are well.
Apr 12, 2009 16:07
GUESTROALD To ask if the relevant person has eaten yet, you can say - Chi bao le?
Apr 14, 2009 22:56
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you're chinese and you don't know what 'ni hao' means? well do you know what 'hara kiri' means?
Jun 1, 2009 23:10
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"Ne Hao" in Cantonese means "hi""hello", "Ni hao"in Mandarin,which is widely used in greeting especially among those who just met or are unfamiliar with each other. you can just reply the same ""Ne Hao" to the one who says "Ne Hao"to you.
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